National programmes to support ageing workers

Three Finnish government ministries run programmes that aim for healthy working conditions right up to retirement age.

Three Finnish ministries – the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, and the Ministry of Education – all run national programmes to support well-being at work, enhance skills and boost working capacity right up to retirement age.

Funding from projects within the programmes has helped the maintenance of adult education, good practices for working life, better occupational healthcare, well-being at work, and procedures to further gender equality. In addition, money has been made available for outside projects, such as schemes at individual workplaces.

  • The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s Forum for Well-Being at Work provides a natural and reliable foundation for extensive cooperation by everyone involved in promoting well-being in the workplace. It coordinates contact and distributes information about best practices among supervisors, occupational safety managers, occupational healthcare professionals and others.
  • The Ministry of Labour’s TYKES workplace development programme helps to improve operating methods at Finnish workplaces. The aim is to boost both productivity and the quality of working life with the help of projects in which management and staff work together.
  • The Ministry of Education’s Noste programme helps adults without formal qualifications to develop their skills and acquire occupational certification.


Bertelsmann award for Finland

Finland’s approach wins international recognition

In autumn 2006, the German Bertelsmann Foundation awarded its annual prize to the Finnish National Programme for Ageing Workers, and specialized programmes based on it, all of which are carried out by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Education. The objective of these programmes is to extend the working life of employees, improve working conditions, and enhance people’s qualifications thus boosting their chances of finding employment.

In its citation the Foundation underlined the Finns’ excellent ability to adjust to changing circumstances and to practise broad-based cooperation. Implementation of the national strategy involves the government, trade unions, employers and various ministries. It has produced impressive results: the employment rate among Finnish workers aged 55–59 is 10 percent higher than the European average, and retirement now starts on average 1.2 years later than ten years ago.

The Bertelsmann Foundation is Germany’s biggest socially active foundation, backed by Bertelsmann AG, one of the world’s biggest media enterprises. The Foundation has awarded its annual Carl Bertelsmann prize for innovative and exemplary acknowledgement and solution of social problems since 1988.

The 150,000 euro award has been used to finance projects to increase well-being at work.


By Salla Korpela, January 2008